The Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth – Health Minister Vaughan Gething – has been forced into making a humiliating U-turn in his maladroit handling of the case of an Wales NHS employee – who became a killer.
Gething had refused calls for a public inquiry into the case – and flounced out of an ITV News interview when the questions got to hot to handle.
The case involves the sexual predator and now-convicted killer Kris Wade. Before Wade murdered his frail female neighbour in Cardiff in a “sexually motivated” attack in 2016, he was employed by the NHS Swansea Health Board in its Learning and Disabilities Centre at Rowan House in Cardiff.
Whilst employed by the NHS was suspected of having carried out a string of sexual attacks on patients at Rowan House – but nothing was ever pinned on him. It appears the Labour-dominated Swansea Health Board – despite its denials to the contrary – had never carried out any employment checks on Kris Wade.
An internal report found the Swansea NHS Health Board had not “robustly” pursued the sex assault complaints against Kris Wade.
It just so happens that Kris Wade’s father – Stephen Wade MBE – was the Swansea Health Board’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Clinical Service Director – although the Health Board said he played no part in the recruitment of his son or in subsequent investigations. Stephen Wade has now retired.
The British Medical Association in Wales cranked up the pressure on Health Minister Vaughan Gething by calling for independent inquiry into the whole affair – saying it was unacceptable that the Swansea Health Board should investigate itself.
Gething, however, continued to resist an independent inquiry and appeared to happy with the internal report written by the Swansea Health Board – after it had investigated itself.
When interviewed by ITV News last month, Gething told reporter James Crichton Smith there was no need for any inquiry – and then avoided further questioning by turning-tail and walking away from the camera crew. See http://tinyurl.com/y9dbmkdn
Now Gething has had to back-track on his refusal to dig deeper into the scandal and has been forced to call-in the independent NHS watchdog – the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales.
The Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) will now drill down into “areas that the original report missed” and find out whether actions taken since the scandal broke were “sufficiently wide-ranging and robust”.
In belatedly announcing the new independent HIW inquiry, Vaughan Gething said : “This report provides a stark reminder to ensure that the policies and procedures in place in this area are fully understood by all staff and that their implementation and application is regularly monitored. It is clearly essential that we take all appropriate steps to ensure that all NHS organisations learn from it.”
Dr David Bailey, chairman of the BMA’s Welsh Council said “The onus is now on HIW to address the areas that the original report missed.”
Meanwhile Plaid Cymru has voiced reservations about even the new HIW inquiry .
Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins says: “I’m not convinced today that the remit for the Health Inspectorate Wales assessment will be wide enough. Will HIW be able to ask critical and crucial questions relating to the whole of the Kris Wade case, going back to the initial allegations against Mr Wade some years ago? Until we have greater assurances over what HIW can look into and clarity over the exact remit, I cannot welcome this at the moment.”
South Wales West Conservative AM Suzy Davies has said : “It’s clear it should never have been left to the health board to investigate serious concerns about itself, especially given the magnitude of the failings of this case, which led to severe breaches of patient safety.”
Meanwhile other problems are mounting up for Vaughan Gething – who is responsible for the NHS in Wales
It’s been revealed that out of 5,861 complaints about the NHS in Wales in 2016-17, only 2,393 of them were dealt with in the expected timescale of 30 days.
In same period in the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – out of 1,142 so-called “formal concerns” raised – 394 were not dealt with within 30 working days.